Communication in Beijing : post mail and internet

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Here are a few tips about life in Beijing. Let’s have a look on different way you have to communicate when you are there : internet, mobile phones, mail.

 

If you want to post a letter abroad, it’s quite easy, branches of the China Post are easy to find all over the city. All the basic operations can be done in all the branches, if you want to send a letter, you’d better speak a few words of Chinese, because with red tape simple things can get complicated. Anyway, most of the time it works. If you send a letter abroad, the address does not have to be in Chinese, but it is advisable to be able to write at least the name of the country in characters, it makes things go faster and avoid your letter to be lost somewhere in China.

 

If you are sending a package, it could be examined to see what kind of content it is. You might have to go as well in a larger branch, some of them even operate western union.

 

You have DHL, Western Union and a lot of rapid delivery companies. They are quite cheaper than their western counterparts, and have the advantage of being quicker. Less and less people use the snail mail, for important and more and more for basic matters, they use the fast delivery. Still, Chinese post is reliable although a bit slower than a few years ago. The cheapest way to deliver can be to use an individual company, there are thousands of people on motorbikes ready to deliver for a chep sum, 20 or 30 RMB sometimes. Have a Chinese friend or coworker call one of them.

 

About Internet. You have several providers available. Most of the time, for expatriates, the property management in your compound will handle everything. The main provider is China Telecom, but others do exist with cable TV packages. The Internet costs around 100 RMB a month, depending on the speed. The internet in China can sometimes be slow, especially if you have to navigate on foreign websites, you’ll get used to it or suscribe to a VPN sercice.

 

A good thing about China is that free Wifi is taken for granted in cafes.

 

If you want cheap internet, you’ll have to go to those large areas specialised, called Wang ba, or internet café, but they are overcrowded with people who seem to live in them. You ‘ll have to show your passport to access a computer there.

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